Arm’s Length Bodies in Brazil: Contradictions and Challenges

Abstract

Despite initial criticism, and often driven by performance contracts, arm’s length bodies (ALBs) have been expanding in Brazil within the context of state reform. The creation of ALBs is the strategy by which Brazilian governments have sought to address or evade the rigidity of public sector rules. Governments from different political orientations have adopted various types of ALBs with the aim of achieving some administrative agility and flexibility in the delivery of public services. The advances in flexibility are larger than the granting of autonomy for the new organizations, revealing persistent hierarchical relationships between the government and ALBs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. 1.

    It is difficult to determine the total number of ALBs existing in Brazil. A survey in 2009 indicated 19 ASSs, 57 SOs and 5,050 CSOPIs (only 280 of which had signed partnership agreements with the government) (Instituto Publix 2009). There are about 12,000 charities active in the provision of some service to the population. The federal government has created 10 regulatory agencies, and the majority of the state governments have also created one or more regulatory bodies.

  2. 2.

    In January 2004, the government dismissed the president of ANATEL (the telecom regulatory agency), based on legal arguments drawn from loopholes in existing legislation. Casa Civil believes that Lula can change IRAs’ president. Valor Econômico, 1 August 2004.

  3. 3.

    PLP-7/2011. http://www2.camara.gov.br/agencia/noticias/administracao-publica/195174-proposta-proibe-contingenciamento-de-verba-de-agencias-reguladoras.html

  4. 4.

    Since decisions within IRAs are collegial, the non-appointment of managers can derail the decision process.

  5. 5.

    http://www.portalpch.com.br/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5329:16052011-agencias-reguladoras-correcoes-de-rota&catid=1:ultimas-noticias&Itemid=98 (author’s translation from Portuguese).

  6. 6.

    Idem.

  7. 7.

    The situation is particularly acute in relation to human resources. The stability afforded to all civil servants is rigid, imposing multiple difficulties for admission and dismissal of employees. The hiring process demands at least one year, and is centralized. Dismissal is only provided in the case of serious misconduct. The constitutional reform of 1998 relaxed this stability, creating the possibility of the dismissal of an employee for poor performance. However, the additional legislation has not been passed, making the new rule inapplicable.

  8. 8.

    Since its inception, the company EBSERH has worked to regularize the staffing contracts of these hospitals, whose irregularities have already been pointed out by control agencies – TCU Court of Audit and MPF federal prosecutors.

  9. 9.

    IBRAM Brazilian Institute of Museums was created in January 2009 as a central authority under the Ministry of Culture to improve federal museums’ management.

  10. 10.

    The modernization of public management undertaken in Minas Gerais has in fact been the most consistent and comprehensive initiative for the introduction of a results-oriented management agenda in Brazil.

  11. 11.

    See Perdicaris (2012) for more on the introduction of results agreements in state-owned and managed hospitals in São Paulo.

  12. 12.

    In Brazil, the term PPP refers to two forms of hiring private companies, both equivalents to the British experience of the private finance initiative (PFI). In one of the forms, payment for the service is made only by the administration (such as in the case of prisons or hospitals wholly dedicated to public service delivery); in the second form, the administration supplements the fee paid by the user (such as in the case of roads).

  13. 13.

    The government of Bahia stipulates that its contract with the hospital contracted under a PPP lasts for only 10 years – as a measure of caution. This, however, raises the value of periodic disbursements to be made by the State.

References

  1. Barbosa, L. (1996). Meritocracia à brasileira: o que é desempenho no Brasil? Revista do Serviço Público, 47(3), 58–102.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Brazil. (1995). Plano diretor da reforma do aparelho do estado. Brasília: Presidência da República.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Costa, V. M. F. (2002). A dinâmica institucional da reforma do estado: Um balanço do período FHC. In F. Abrucio & M. R. Loureiro (Eds.), O Estado numa Era de Reformas: os Anos FHC. Brasília: SEGES-MP.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Ferlie, E., et al. (1996). The new public management in action. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  5. Jann, W., & Reichard, C. (2002). Melhores práticas na modernização do Estado. Revista do Serviço Público, 53(3), 31–50.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Kettl, D. F. (1997). The global revolution in public management: driving themes, missing links. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 16(3), 446–462.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kim, J. M., & Park, C.-K. (2006). Top-down budgeting as a tool for central resource management. OECD Journal on Budgeting, 6(1), 87–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Longo, F. (2004). Mérito y flexibilidad: La gestión de las personas en las organizaciones del sector público. Barcelona: Paidos Ibérica.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Martins, H. F. (2011). Inflexibilização: limitações à flexibilização em parcerias com entes de cooperação. Paper presented at IV Congresso CONSAD de Gestão Pública. Brasília: CONSAD.

  10. Melo, M. A. B. C. (2001). A política da ação regulatória: responsabilização, credibilidade e delegação. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, 116(46), 55–68.

    Google Scholar 

  11. OECD. (2005). Modernising government: The way forward (Chapter 4: reallocation and restructuring: the heavy machinery of reform). Paris: OECD.

    Google Scholar 

  12. OECD. (2008). OECD reviews of regulatory reform, Brazil: Strengthening governance for growth. Paris: OECD.

    Google Scholar 

  13. OECD. (2011). Government at a glance 2011. Paris: OECD.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Oliveira, A. C. P. (2012). Flexibilidade de gestão e desempenho do aparelho do Estado: explorando causalidades e conexões. São Paulo: EAESP-FGV. Masters thesis.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Pacheco, R. S. (2010). Profissionalização, mérito e proteção da burocracia no Brasil. In F. Abrucio, M. R. Loureiro, & R. S. Pacheco (Eds.), Burocracia e Política no Brasil; Desafios para o Estado Democrático no Século XXI. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getulio Vargas.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Peci, A., & Cavalcanti, B. S. (2000). Reflexões sobre a autonomia do órgão regulador: análise das agências reguladoras estaduais. Revista de Administração Pública, 34(5), 99–118.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Perdicaris, P. (2012). Contratualização de resultados e desempenho no setor público: a experiência do Contrato Programa nos hospitais da Administração Direta no Estado de São Paulo. São Paulo: EAESP-FGV. PhD thesis.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Pollitt, C., & Bouckaert, G. (2004). Public management reform: A comparative analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Publix, I. (2009). Diagnóstico das formas de Relacionamento da Administração Pública com Entes de Cooperação e Colaboração. Brasília: Ministério do Planejamento.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Rezende, F. C. (2002). Por que reformas administrativas falham? Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais, 17(50), 123–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Rinne, J. (2005). Alternative service delivery in São Paulo’s health sector: comparing personnel management and performance in traditional, ‘social organization’ and private hospitals. Paper presented at X Congreso Internacional del CLAD sobre la Reforma Del Estado y de La Administración Pública. Santiago de Chile.

  22. Salgado, L. H. (2003). Agências reguladoras na experiência brasileira: um panorama do atual desenho institucional. IPEA Texto para Discussão n. 941. Brasília: IPEA.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Schick, A. (2008). The road to PPB: The stages of budget reform. In I. S. Rubin (Ed.), Public budgeting: policy, process and politics. ASPA: Armonk.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Sundfeld, C. A. (2009). Uma lei de normas gerais para a organização administrativa brasileira. In P. Modesto (Ed.), Nova Organização Administrativa Brasileira. Belo Horizonte: Fórum.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Sunstein, C. (1987). Constitucionalism after the new deal. Harvard Law Review, 101(10).

  26. Van Thiel, S. (2012). Comparing agencies across countries. In K. Verhoest, S. Van Thiel, G. Bouckaert, & P. Laegreid (Eds.), Government agencies: Practices and lessons from 30 countries. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  27. World Bank. (2006). Brazil: Enhancing performance in Brazil’s health sector – lessons from innovations in the State of São Paulo and the City of Curitiba. Washington: World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Regina Silvia Pacheco.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pacheco, R.S. Arm’s Length Bodies in Brazil: Contradictions and Challenges. Public Organiz Rev 13, 131–141 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-013-0231-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Arm’s length bodies
  • Limited autonomy
  • Rigid rules
  • Public service delivery
  • Brazil